CSW Exam for a dummey - Printable Version

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- thevintagelawyer - 03-16-2011 07:13 PM

Through some connections I've made in my law practice, I have been in discussion with a broker about getting into the wine industry. Of course, I would first need some credentials, specifically CSW certification. Can anyone offer any advice as to the amount of time that someone with no wine experience needs to devote towards preparing for the certification exam. Thanks.

- Drew - 03-17-2011 09:13 AM

Many places around the country teach the course from 5 to 10 days (couple of hours each day formal instruction)which includes 200 page study guide and test of 100 multiple choice questions. I would think if you're totally new to wine that you might want to find a study guide and read it sometime prior to enrolling in a class to give you a little one up.


- TheEngineer - 03-18-2011 03:21 PM

I would completely agree with what Drew said. Some pre-reading on the topic will be very very useful.

- winoweenie - 03-18-2011 03:33 PM

This always reminds me of the old wine joke that goes " How do you make a small fortune in the wine biz? Answer....Start with a large fortune ". WW

- winoweenie - 03-19-2011 12:17 AM

Which is an addendum to my answer above. WW

- andrawes76 - 03-21-2011 12:08 AM

Thomas, WW, I know plenty of people who have law, medicine degrees who have reverted back into the wine business just because they love wine more than their current path has taken them. I don't think its fair to assume law, business, and other skilled education is a lower standard of living. Wine is pretty spiritual to some people and worthy of the entrepreneurial challenge.

WW, for the most part many people spend a fortune in the wine business and see low or no returns. I started with nothing and got pretty far (thus far)... Others to name a few: Paul Mabray, Rick Bakas, Janice Robinson, David Ramey, Robert Craig and even your boy Scherrer I believe! :-)

- Kcwhippet - 03-21-2011 12:33 AM

Back to the point, Alex, why do you need "credentials"???? What does a CSW give you that money and/or experience doesn't???

- winoweenie - 03-21-2011 01:44 PM

AA First Fred Scherrer was raised in the wine business and his family ownrd one of the best vinryards in Sonoma and he worked under one of the best winemakers in Calif(IMHO) Tom Dehlinger and Bob Craig was a very successful winemaker before starting his winery. Janices' were ties not being a physical part of the biz but having the moxey to see the power of the press related to wine. Lets talk about the Smothers, Disneys, Firestones ad nauseum that've become gentlemen farmers. WW

- fudp01 - 03-24-2011 06:32 PM

Your question implies you are new to the wine business, but that's not the same as being new to wine and makes a difference in how long it might take. All I can tell you is my experience. I am not in the wine 'business' but like you am interested in a career change. I am not new to wine, however. My line of reasoning is exactly the same as yours... obtaining a CSW would be a great addition to a resume with absolutely no other wine experience. If nothing else, it shows you are serious. Here's what I did: 1) Joined the Society of Wine Educators (this gave me access to their online Wine Academy) 2) For 6 weeks I reviewed all the online Academy lessons and took all the lesson tests and the practice exam several times 3) I did not purchase the official Study Guide but would probably recommend it. There is new material that the online Academy does NOT cover. I did buy the official Lesson Plans from the SWE and reviewed the exercises. 4) I attended a full day Preview session at Trinchero Winery the day before taking the exam (I highly recommend it) 4) I took the exam and passed the next day. Again, I am making zero assumptions about your prior interest in wine, but I am telling you it can be done in 6 weeks and it was a GREAT experience. I am now considering additional certifications like CS and CWE and hope to complete both of those by the end of next year. My only advice is if you have a passion for wine, go for it! I wish I had done this many years ago.

- wondersofwine - 03-25-2011 01:56 PM

A constructive reply. I hope thevintagelawyer sees it and thanks you.

- andrawes76 - 03-25-2011 05:06 PM

Thomas, the business end of wine requires experience and time. Certifications get you the green light and some credentials, then its up to you on how you use it. Entering into the wine business was VERY hard for me because I came in the most niche, niche way possible. Expanding was easier, but nonetheless challenging. I highly respect any lawyer who leaves LAW and goes into wine. Hey there is even an opportunity to hire lawyers in the wine business. God knows we need them with the stupid laws that the wholesalers are trying to pass i.e. HR 1161. Check out if VintageLawyer uses his skills, he can win the hearts and minds of ALL wine peeps quickly...